Never has there been a time more appropriate than now to call for a global change in the way we treat animals, from our approach to the way we farm, what we consume, and how we buy and care for animals, things need to change.
Both the legal and illegal trade of wild animals involves the transport of wildlife - and their pathogens - far and wide, intensifying contact with humans and increasing the chances of transmission.
By ending the dog and cat meat trade we could also minimise the risk of another global disease outbreak in the future, as well as protecting millions of companion animals worldwide.
Perhaps the most overlooked connection to the pandemic, although questionably one of the most important focuses for FOUR PAWS, is the connection to farm animals. Looking back at the history of pandemics, we know that 75% of these began from animals, many of which started in factory farms. This could likely be the best chance we have ever had of reversing the trend of industrial farming and ending factory farming.
- Ending factory farming, cage keeping of farm animals and horses, long-distance live animal transports and all practices that make animals sick or favour the spreading of diseases, to stop the unnecessary suffering of farm animals, the destruction of the environment, loss of biodiversity and protect human health.
- Reducing global production and consumption of animal products 50% by 2050 to encourage consumers to choose plant-based alternatives to combat the climate crisis and safeguard animal welfare. Remaining animal products should originate from higher welfare production systems and the methods used for their production should be transparent in order to allow consumers to make informed choices.
- Ending all agricultural subsidies that harm animals and the environment. Support climate-friendly and higher-welfare farmers and production systems. Help consumers to drive change.
- Ensuring that trade agreements only allow commercial exchanges that don’t have a negative impact on humans, animals and the environment.
- Ending the trade and consumption of dog and cat meat in Asia to stop the immense cruelty and help eradicate zoonoses and disease transmissions such as rabies and cholera.
- Regulating the online pet trade and improving traceability of companion animals through mandatory Identification (microchipping) and Registration, in order to protect millions of animals and prevent future potential transmissions of zoonotic diseases.
- Reducing stray animal suffering through responsible pet ownership education, shelter adoption and sustainable and humane stray animal population management.
- Banning the trade of wild animals for private keeping, human consumption as well as use in traditional medicines and immediately closing all markets that sell live wild animals to not only protect animals and ecosystems but help prevent future pandemics that arise from zoonotic diseases such as COVID-19, SARS, MeRs, HIV and Ebola.
- Stopping fur farming to end the millionfold suffering of wild animals and prevent the emergence and spread of zoonoses.
- Prohibiting the exploitation of wild animals for entertainment purposes because travelling with a variety of animal species, public appearances and frequent direct contact entail an increased risk of spreading zoonoses and cause animal suffering.